Exercising electronica

Reverend Screaming Fingers

Reverend Screaming Fingers takes a break from the electric guitar at a past Burning Man.<br>

Reverend Screaming Fingers takes a break from the electric guitar at a past Burning Man.

Reverend Screaming Fingers performs with The Spark, Sophie and The Probiotics and Joe Rut, 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at Esoteric, 135 N. Sierra St.

The lights are dim. Yellow and red lights on stage provide the only source of illumination. The stage is cluttered with amps and a monitor, pedals, boards and cords. Like an arrayed army of electronic helpers, the equipment is marshaled around its general, Reverend Screaming Fingers, ready to supply any sonic cover fire that the he and his guitar might need.

In the center of this seeming chaos sits a rat-faced, little Italian guy holding a guitar like it grew out of his fingers, guiding the blossoming flower of sound and light. He is constantly in motion, tapping pedals for distortion, twisting knobs for a touch of delay, flicking switches to cue the slideshow that projects back on his arms and body.

Reverend Screaming Fingers, aka Lucio Menegon, is not bound by the confines of music. He composes, not just out of notes and melody, but from contexts and surroundings. Sights, spontaneity and sound earmark all of his performances, but even the dim reflections of his three CDs capture the events that are his unspoken sermons. Primarily, his music is instrumental rock, although there are occasional lyrics he likes to write.

“I tend to write wry little ditties as well as instrumental music,” Menegon says. “I’m a part of a group called ICS, Immersion Composition Society, that engages in the discipline of speed composition one Saturday every three weeks or so. The idea is to write, play and record as many original pieces of music or songs as possible in one day—with no preconceived notions other than song titles.”

Ambient, lullaby, experimental and flat-out rock guitar color the tracks of his second CD, Snake Oil War, and often can be found within the same song itself, as in the oddly titled Track 10, “Elephant Bassoon/Over the Rainbow.”

Menegon is an accomplished guitarist in many styles of playing; punk, blues, pop, roots and even some country fill his repertoire. Many musicians have backed up and been backed up by Menegon. It took him years of experience and exposure to create the atmosphere of Reverend Screaming Fingers, a name given to him while playing the slide guitar out in the Black Rock during Burning Man ‘96. At 40, he’s been playing music most of his life.

“I simply fell in love with the sound of the electric guitar,” Menegon says. “To this day, I find it mesmerizing—it’s a lot like the feeling one gets staring at a flame for a long time. … I’m addicted to sound. The adrenaline. To that pure moment when everything is clicking or that perfect tone or note is hit …”

Pure moments, mesmerizing chords and the sound. That’s what this preacher of rock brings every time he steps up to the pulpit of the stage.